the simplicity and versatility of a spud

In light of the holidays and the massive amount of potatoes I’ve consumed thus far, this post is an ode to one of the most versatile vegetables we find on our plates, the spud.

The potato is a tuber native to the America’s and a member of the nightshade family. It was first cultivated some 4000-5000 years ago deep in the mountainous terrain of Peru and has grown to include tens of thousands of varieties. It is also the forth largest food crop in the world after the other well known starches on our dinner plates, rice, wheat & corn.

These lovely delights can be prepared in any manner one can imagine. Just think Bubba Gump and you can get an idea of how many different ways you can cook a potato. In fact, if you really want some fantastic recipe ideas for potatoes check out one of my favorite blogs http://www.thedailyspud.com/, where everything form latkes to cocktails made from potato liquor (yup, that’d be vodka my friends) can be found.
With about 15 pounds of potatoes remaining after the Thanksgiving holiday feast, I thought it was about time to get creative with the leftovers. A potato pie sounds strangely too starchy, but I was amazed how this turned out. Buttery crust, filled with a (savory) custard of creamy mashed potato & caramelized onion gravy, topped with browned crispy slices of potato. Perfect with a plate of mixed greens dressed with a tangy vinaigrette, another brunch pleaser or light dinner.

a simple buttery crust to start
after many foiled attempts at baking pie,
I finally remembered to weigh down the pie dough with uncooked beans
i love dimples
Savory custard? yes indeed! With about 2 C left over mashed potato’s I combined 1/2 C caramelized onions, 3/4 C brown gravy and 3 eggs. Added to the pre-baked pie shell and set aside while 2-3 whole uncooked potatoes are peeled and sliced on a mandoline. The sliced potatoes are then arranged in an overlapping mosaic, brushed with melted butter, salted and placed in a 375 degree oven until browned. This took about 40-45 minutes.
filled with a potato & caramelized onion custard
beautifully layered with thin slices of potato
dont forget the butter!
 After some down time in the hot oven…Voila! 
brown, crispy goodness!

slice of comfort food heaven!
This delicious pie ended up being a slice of comfort food with all the attributes we love about potato wrapped up in one. The filling was creamy and swimming with the caramelized, beefy flavors of the onion and brown gravy, topped with perfectly crispy potato crust, mmmmmmm! The creamy inside had a croquette texture, just slightly softer which went nicely with with buttery crust. Each bite was as if I had just piled mashed potatoes on a delicious biscuit. A nice combo. 
I took a chance at trying something adventurous and was not surprised with the results, mainly because potatoes are difficult to mess up. Potatoes have gotten a bad wrap in recent years, being cut from diets for their starchy ways, but I refuse to leave them out of my life. Cost, versatility and comfort make this tuber a staple and writing this I’m thinking of the myriad of potato dishes that are possible for tonight’s dinner.
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3 Comments

Filed under caramelized onion, caramelized onion gravy, left overs, potato, savory pie

3 responses to “the simplicity and versatility of a spud

  1. Great post, I love watching the "creation journey" of this pie, and I also refuse to cut potatoes from my diet! They must be eaten!

  2. indeed they should! I just popped some in the oven for roasting, lightly coated with bacon fat and seasoned with salt-it's whats for dinner!

  3. Tasty and beautiful… my kind of meal! I’ve been looking for an excuse to use the potatoes in my fridge, this is perfect!!!!! 🙂

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